Top 5 things I hate about rant lists

glareHey guys, am I the only one to notice the large number of rant lists there are on the internets these days. You know the kind, that list out every little grievance in bullet point format so that everyone knows exactly what such and such thinks of this or that. Well, I know I am late to the game butt here I do, jumping on the band wagon and posting my own rant list. The top 5 things I hate about rant lists.

5. They are too general

4. They are too specific

3. They are often redundant.

2. They are really petty.

1. They are often hypocritical.

But seriously, I thought I would do something that was fun and light on account of the fact that I’ve been so terrible at posting regularly lately.  Hopefully you had a laugh.  As a side note, I linked each of the images back too where I found them, I don’t necessarily endorse or support those sites, but there shouldn’t be any links to anything too questionable.  Anyhow, let me know what you think in the comments.


A touch of holy things

BibleHey guys. So during my Bible reading the other day I came across this passage that just kind of stuck out to me. It was Exodus 29:37 which reads, “For seven days make atonement for the altar and consecrate it. Then the altar will be most holy and whatever touches it will be holy.”

The reason that this stuck out to me is that it seems to run contrary to the way that things usually are. Usually when something is clean or holy it has to stay away from the unclean things in this world if it wants to stay clean. But here, it is the holy thing that makes the unholy things holy. In fact, the Hebrew word used to describe what the things that touch the altar become is qadash. In addition to meaning holy or sacred, qadash also means to be clean or purified.

This seems to be a reoccurring theme in the Bible too. For example Hezekiah’s prayer in 2 Chronicles. The people came and participated in the Passover, hungry for the things of the LORD. And even though they did so in a way that was against what the letter of the Law said, their hearts were seeking God. So God healed them.

We also see this in the New Testament over and over again. Like when the woman with the bleeding issue touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was cured. According to the Law, everything she touched should be considered unclean, but in an amazing twist of events she becomes clean for touching Jesus. And this isn’t an isolated incident. When the lepers (another group of people who made everything they touched unclean) touch Jesus they are cleansed and healed. And again, Jesus touches the blind men and their sight is restored.

This is because when God shows up, everything is perfect. That is to say that God is so great, so holy, so pure, so whole, so perfect that He literally forces everything around Himself to become pure, and holy, and whole… and perfect.

To bring it back to passage, the word for holy that describes the altar after it has been consecrated is qodesh. It is a derivative of the first word qadash, and means holy as well, but more than that it means that it belongs to God. The reason it is translated “most holy” is because the word qodesh is repeated. In Hebrew culture, to repeat something means that it is really important, or doubled in meaning.

I think that therefore, it is no accident that winged beasts in Revelations cry out Holy, Holy, Holy.

Tell me in the comments how God has touched your life and made you clean and as always, let the blessings of God be upon you.

The big debate

Hey guys! I’m sorry I’ve been gone for a long time, I don’t really have any excuse… well I have a ton of excuses but they aren’t very good so I am going to neglect to share them. No sense looking back right?

Nye vs HamAnyhow, I’ve heard all this talk about the big Bill Nye verses Ken Ham debate the other day and it has got me thinking. I find it quite peculiar that there would be a debate about this at all. Not because I don’t see the conflict. I totally do.

I mean, I am a creationist. I know, big surprise right? The guy who blogs as “ChristEnabled” believes the Bible… crazy.

That said, I think that we Christians spend far too much time trying to be right. We somehow think that we need to persuade people with logic that the Bible is totally correct (which it is) and if we can only prove that we are correct then everyone will just flock to the Cross. And I am not one to cast stones here. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. But if we were honest, we would admit that the reason we do and think this is because we are afraid that someone else will think we are stupid for what we believe.

But Paul said in 1 Corinthians that he came to the people of Corinth as a fool, only preaching the Gospel of the Cross and that God used the foolish things to undo the wisdom of this world. That is to say, we shouldn’t concern ourselves with this senseless need to prove ourselves right. We just need to go forth into this world and love on those around us, and show the power of God in us.

Let me know what you guys think in the comments and have a blessed day.

Those Loving Feels, part 2: Love comes in Twos

cropped-bwccf-2011.jpgHello again my wonderful readers. Last week I said that I would start a weekly post concerning my varied opinions, view, and insights into the topic of love. I am here today to fulfill that oath for you. Again I want to make it clear, I am not a councilor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or pastor. I don’t even purport that what I am going to share is derived from any kind of strictly biblical teaching. I am just a guy with some ideas. Take ’em or leave ’em.

I think we all have heard some people say that love is an action, not an emotion. And I think that we have all stepped back and said to ourselves, “Hey wait, I’m pretty sure that I’ve ‘felt’ love before.” So which is it? Is it an emotion, or is it an action? For a long time I was in the first camp, I thought that love was just an action. I would say that the feelings were something else entirely; they were lust, or kinship, or pity, or duty, or whatever. But I couldn’t get past that passage in 1 Corinthians where it says, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. ”

Wait… didn’t I say that I wasn’t going to give biblical teaching? Yes, yes I did. And when I said that I meant that what I have to say isn’t intended for spiritual doctrine. I take biblical teaching *VERY* seriously, and I am not willing claim this as a Bible teaching. Doesn’t mean that I am not going to use biblical references. The Bible after all, is a huge influence on my thinking, and of course it is going to heavily shape my thoughts, even on topics that aren’t doctrinal in nature. Thank you for your patients, we now return you to your regularly scheduled blog feed.

So, I kept coming back to this passage in 1 Corinthians and feeling it being very counter to what I was believing. This with a lot of other contributing factors lead me to change my view on the subject. Now I believe that love exists in a sort of symbiotic duality, each part needing the other in order to be love, and when one or the other fades away it becomes something all together different. I call these two parts volitional love, and compulsory love.

Volitional love is, as the name might suggest, the choosing part of love. This is the love in action. It is the love that sells all its things and gives it to the poor. It is the love that writes three-hundred plus letters like Noah form the movie, “The Notebook”. Volitional love is the choices we make, when we decide to put someone before ourselves.

On the other hand, compulsory love is the emotional side. As the name might imply, this is not something we chose to feel, it just is. Now, I know that I said that love is a choice last week, and I stand by that 100%. In the long run you can indeed change the nature of your heart and love some more and others less, but to quote the famous economist John Keynes out of context, “in the long run, we’re all dead”. In the short term we’re stuck with our emotions as they are. This is why we can’t seem to drum up and affection for that person who on paper is all right for us, but on the other hand we can’t seem to stop thinking about Mr. or Miss Very Wrong.

Earlier I said that this relationship was a symbiotic one, and here’s what I meant. If you have good feelings towards someone, and you don’t do anything about them then it isn’t love. Love leads to action, and is in fact that very action. It is kind of like how in the bible, James talks about faith. If you aren’t acting on your faith, working it out, then it isn’t faith that you have, it is vain idealism; wishful thinking. Love is this very same way, if it isn’t making you kinder towards the person it is directed towards, then it isn’t love. If you aren’t actually putting that person’s wants and needs ahead of your own, at least some of the time, then it isn’t love, it is something else entirely.

Likewise, if you do all these things – giving up everything you have, even your flesh – and you don’t care about the person you are doing them for, that isn’t love either. If you do all of this because you somehow see it as your duty or your obligation, it isn’t love anymore than if you didn’t lift a finger. A Secret Service agent who takes a bullet for the president isn’t doing out of love (necessarily), but duty. That’s his job.

Now there is an ebb and flow to all of this; it isn’t exactly strict black and white. Does the man who still tends to his wife’s needs after thirty years, but doesn’t feel for her the way he did when they married still loving her? Probably. And what about the young lady who’s man went off to war who can do nothing but pine for his return; is she still loving him? Most likely.

But my point is that the two haves want to live together. The young lady wants desperately to please her bo, and the old man still cares deeply for his wife even if the magic spark of romance is gone.

Anyhow, that’s how I see it. Expect to see more musings on love every Friday from now until the foreseeable future. Let me know in the comments whether you agree with me. Until next time, let God’s grace and love be upon you.


The Sin of Social Media

I love Facebook as much as the next guy. I spend, probably, too much time reading all the various tidbits that get sprinkled all over the site. I engage in spirited debates about the virtues of Marvel verses DC. I look at too many funny pictures, and repost too many politically themed memes. I am thoroughly involved in the social media circus in my own special way.

keyboardAnd I could talk to you about the pearls of wasting too much time on social media, and I would be talking from experience. It certainly can suck an unbelievably large chuck of your life away if you let it; but then again, so can stamp collecting.

The real sin of social media is how quickly and easily it allows us to take that pain that lives in our hearts in those moments of weakness and vomit it out on to everyone else around us. It becomes infinitely easier to see our own pain, and infinitely harder to see the pain we inflict on our friends and family when we broadcast our hurts to the world through our Facebook or Twitter account. It allows us to say things to people we would never say to someone’s face.

In addition to this, it can give us a positive feedback loop. We don’t really get to hear others’ points of view, and we can quickly start to believe that everyone else agrees with us. Then when we are confronted with someone else who does not share our opinion we find ourselves unable to either defend or even adequately articulate our positions. Often this gets combine with the first sin mentioned above, leaving us to be little more than highly emotional children lashing out at all those around us who actually care about us. This can be such a shame, since the internet has given us the potential to hear so many different opinions and learn so much.

Knowing the risks, we need to make sure that we buttress ourselves against the evils of our heart, and seek Jesus instead of running to the temporary comfort of social media. We also need to make sure we are sharpening our hearts and minds on our fellow brothers in love.

What has been your experiences with social media? Have you been the victim of this social media sin? Have you inflicted it on others? Let me know in the comments! And as always, let God bless your day!

The Gospel to Ourselves

I have a confession, I am a Christian and I still really struggle with my self-identity sometimes. It can be really crippling, and keeps me from doing things that I need or want to do. I’ve spent more nights in the dark, my hands soaked with tears of desperate prayers for freedom from the crippling weight of my own inadequacy and failure than I care to admit.

I share all this with you to make a point. Christians are not prefect. We suffer loss like everyone else, and depression. I am far from prefect. In so many ways I feel so far from it that I can’t possibly see why others would see anything positive about me at all.

Sometimes we need to preach the gospel to ourselves. We need to remind ourselves that we don’t have to be good enough to be loved, but that there is One who is greater that anyone else who already loves us. That He cares so deeply for us, that He died on a tree to set us free from the very chains of depression and self-condemnation that we have locked ourselves in. That we don’t need to be clean to come to Jesus, but that as we come to Him, we are made clean.
Because if we don’t, then how can we tell anyone else? Who will listen to someone who preaches about freedom and joy everlasting who themselves are in bondage and has not even the temporary joy of this world? First the gospel must be alive in our own hearts, and overwhelming our own flesh.

I think that sometimes we stumble or suffer to remind us. Remind us of the life we came from. It is so easy to forget what we were before we found Jesus. We so easily forget the fetters that held us down in our former life. We, much like the ancient Israelites look back to Egypt and remember that our bellies were full and forget that we now walk with the one true God of Heaven, who can do all things. We forget that whatever hardship lays before us, we are infinitely better off now, being free than we were ever before.

So I say, next time we stumble or suffer loss, let us turn our eyes to heaven and thank the God of heaven for His unmitigated love that would come to us, even as we were enemies to make peace through the Blood of His perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ.

Tell me what you are thanking God for today in the comments. Bless you all.

Crying in the Aisles

Crying in the StoreI have been, on occasion, annoyed when in a public place, I hear the painfully loud screeches of a small child being deigned whatever trinket he or she has affixed its hearts desires on at the moment. I don’t feel like I am alone in this. I think that probably most people would agree that crying, whinny children are right at the top of the list of most annoying sounds in the world, right next to scratching a chalkboard and a drippy faucet. And, like I said before, I would normally be right there with them… normally.

Recently though I’ve had a sort of epiphany on the subject. Why do children cry in stores? Well, there are some legitimate reasons like soiled diapers, pain and hunger. And if that is the reason why your child is crying, then you aught to attend to your child with due haste. Most children who are crying in our favorite shopping center however, are doing so in an attempt to manipulate their poor, shamed, and bewildered caretakers into purchasing whatever sort of prize they have set their little hearts on at the moment.

When children cry in the store, their parents are telling them no. What a glorious thing that is. In a society that is so overrun by narcissism and entitlement, one parent is making their own solitary stand against it; like a lone, forgotten knight standing vigil at the last remaining outpost in an area already overwhelmed by the barbarian hordes. They are telling their child… NO.

These brave few who suffer the accusing glances of those around them have chosen to stand firm and do what is right for their children and, if I dare say it, for the whole of society. They should be given a medal or something. I am saying this, and I am a single guy with nary a child, or even a younger sibling for that matter. So next time you see a child throwing a big, ol’ tantrum right there in the middle of your favorite grocery store, shake that parent’s hand and tell ’em to stay strong. Society needs them.

Let me know about your funniest/most embarrassing stories about kids (your own or others’) throwing tantrums in the comments below.

musings about 3d printing

So, I recently (read, today) joined the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I know that it is a month long challenge usually, and therefore I am coming in a little late, but that’s okay. Better late than never, “they” always say (I’ll get back to you on who the illusive they is). I can’t say that every day I am going to be able to follow their prompt but in honor of joining lets go ahead and try it out.
The prompt today is, “Imagine the Future,” which incidentally was sort of the subject that a group of my friends and I were having last night. More specifically we were talking about 3D printing technology and the sorts of cool things we will be able to do in the near future with it. It was really interesting to hear the different perspectives on the subject.
One of my friends in the group was an artist. He had to admit that he was excited about the technology and what could be done with it. At the same he seen the advent of such technology as leading to the demise of artistry as a profession. He talked about how allowing anyone to get a model and print up their own copy, the value of hand crafted works would decrease. This continued into a lament over the impoverished lifestyle that many artists have to endure already, as their crafts have lost value in the culture. Now I am not all together sure I agreed with my friend on this, but that is for another day.
qwopAnother friend and myself are both foodie types, and we started talking about this new class of 3D food printers. There is this one company who recently released a commercial grade 3D printer that can print sugar and chocolate. The same company is also looking to release a starch version six months to a year from now.
I mentioned before that I am so excited to be living in these times, and I am just going to say it again. Thank you God for letting me be alive to see all this amazing technology.

Those loving feels

I was scrolling through this blog earlier today and I noticed that even in my short tenure here on the internet I have already blogged quite considerably on the topic of love. It might seem that I even have an infatuation with the subject. And you would probably be right if you thought that. I have spent a great deal of time thinking about God’s love for us, and the various ways that we love each other. There is even a poster of 1 Corinthians 13 on the wall in my apartment.
A little while ago, in a forum I frequent, someone asked what it was like to be in love. I can only assume that they were being flippant and trying to engender sympathy for their lack of a romantic interest. And as such, they got lots of flippant responses and plenty of virtual back pats as the internet, or at least this little corner of it, was trying comfort her. I however, began to muse about the subject from the perspective of our emotions (or at least my emotions) and it has inspired me to start a series of blog posts about my thoughts, feelings, and interpretations of the various kinds of love that I personally believe exist in the human experience.
But, before I start describing individual expressions of love, I just want to share some of my own thoughts on the matter as a whole. Although it has been argued that we don’t have control over whom we love, I firmly disagree. It is true that the affections for a person seem to rise out of nowhere and often linger long after the said emotions are at all useful; however, we can master our own affections by choosing to focus on those characteristics that we want in the people we care most for. This can mean even changing the kinds of characters you root for in movies, and other works of fiction.
Realize though, that love is a massive thing with lots of momentum, much like a huge cruse liner. It takes a whole lot of consistent, intentional effort and time to see changes in your affections of your heart.
In this series I do not -and will not- claim to be anything more than just a guy. I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, pastor, or therapist; just a guy. So if my ideas seem off, please share in the comments below the relevant post and I’d love to have that sort of dialog with you.

Check out the next installment here!

QWOP and life

Hey guys, sorry about last week. I am still getting my feet under me with this whole blogging thing. I had been sick, pretty much all last week, which more or less took me out of “the fight” if you will. Being sick led me on a downward spiral emotionally; leaving me feeling pretty darn down. Ironic, I know, considering the topic I started last week with. Having made at least a minor recovery from my own, personal, pity party I gained at least a little insight into life, or at least my own skewed perceptions of it.

Have you ever played QWOP? qwopIf not, it is an extremely addicting, difficult, and silly track running game. You have control of the calves and thighs of a runner and your only goal is to get to the end of the race. Did I mention that this is extremely difficult? If haven’t played it, go and check it out now, and see what I mean. It is stupid difficult.

I think that life is sometimes a lot like QWOP. You don’t know what you are really doing. You often feel pretty darn silly. You get frustrated. You fail…. A lot. Then you see someone who seems to be able to do it all so easily and prefectly its just leaves you feeling wholly inadequate. And you often wind up just scooting along on your knees just to get somewhere by the end.

I say “you” in all of that, but in reality, I mean me. I often feel just as helpless in life as I do playing QWOP, thrashing about and failing every time my hand so much as touches the ground; however, the key to life so far as I have yet to discover is to keep getting back up and trying again. In QWOP restarting is just as easy as tapping the space bar, in life it can sometimes feel quite a bit more difficult.

That said, we do have a powerful maker, who can give us the “restart” we need in the person of Jesus. We just need to turn back to Him, and repent for messing up and He is faithful to forgive us and bring us back into right standing before our God.

Let me know if you ever feel like you need a restart in the comments below. Blessings of God be upon you.